Vaccinations can cause significant side effects
Vaccination can have significant side effects in individual cases. No reason for the general rejection of vaccinations, but reason to think carefully about which syringes are actually necessary, Martin Hirte from the association for doctors for individual vaccination decisions in Herdecke (North Rhine-Westphalia) told the news agency "dpa".
In addition to the desired protective effect, vaccinations can also cause numerous side effects. The reactions of the organism to the vaccinations are usually relatively harmless, but in individual cases there is a risk of serious health problems, according to a recent report from the Robert Koch Institute's Standing Vaccination Committee (STIKO). According to the experts, these serious side effects are also a reason why not only people who are generally afraid of injections avoid vaccinations.
Vaccine reactions and vaccine complications as side effects Vaccinations have contributed significantly to successfully contain various infectious diseases and to protect the population from the impending health consequences of these diseases. But vaccinations are always a major intervention in our immune system, said the Chairman of the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO), Jan Leidel. This is necessary so that the vaccinations "work, but as with any effective medication it can sometimes lead to undesirable side effects", the STIKO chairman continued. A distinction should be made between the generally harmless vaccine reactions and the so-called vaccination complications, which threaten significantly more serious damage to health. Vaccination reactions are the most common side effects and can be seen in a few percent of the vaccinees, the expert explained. In most cases, the vaccination reaction is rather harmless to health, although the complaints for the people affected can have relatively severe impairments. According to Leidel, the most common vaccination reactions include, for example, short-term, mild local and general reactions such as pain at the injection site, swelling of the lymph nodes or flu-like symptoms. If the complaints exceed the normal level of a vaccination reaction, “because they are very strong or last for a long time, one speaks of a vaccination complication. You should go to the doctor with her, ”emphasized the STIKO chair. Vaccination complications include, for example, a long-lasting high fever or the formation of abscesses at the injection site.
Serious side effects of vaccinations The vaccine complications also include the so-called vaccine diseases, in which those affected develop symptoms of the disease against which they should actually be vaccinated. This is the case, for example, with around three to five percent of measles vaccinations, explained Martin Hirte from the Association for Doctors for Individual Vaccination Decisions in Herdecke (North Rhine-Westphalia). The so-called “vaccine measles” include typical symptoms of measles, such as a mild rash and fever, but are usually less severe than normal measles infections. Allergic reactions to the substances contained are also referred to as vaccination complications, with anaphylactic shocks occasionally occurring in the course of the allergic reaction to the ingredients of a vaccine dose, reports the expert. The allergic reactions can be triggered not only by the active ingredients, but also by the additives they contain, such as aluminum compounds, mercury compounds (thiomersal), formaldehyde or the chicken protein used in the production of various vaccines. The increased risk of narcolepsy (narcolepsy = sleeping sickness) most recently found in the Pandemrix flu vaccine in Scandinavian studies can also be attributed to vaccination complications (sleeping sickness caused by swine flu vaccine).
Vaccine damage as a result of the side effects Overall, the vaccination complications are extremely rare, according to the STIKO chairman. The percentage of affected vaccinees is in the alcohol range and in most cases, those affected can be relieved of their symptoms with a temporary therapy, said Leidel. However, among the millions of people who are vaccinated every year, there are always significant vaccination complications that cause permanent damage to health - so-called vaccine damage. The most common types of vaccine damage include serious illnesses such as “Guillain-Barré syndrome, an inflammation of the nerves that can lead to paralysis and muscle weakness,” explained Martin Hirte. The syndrome, which was originally known as a result of certain infectious diseases, has already occurred several times with different vaccinations, such as flu vaccinations or TBE vaccinations (TBE = early summer meningoencephalitis), the expert reported. In addition, there have been cases of vaccine encephalitis, i.e. inflammation of the brain, after certain vaccinations such as whooping cough vaccination, shepherd explained.
Obligation to report suspected vaccination complications According to the Infection Protection Act (IfSG), all cases in which there is suspicion of “damage to health beyond the usual extent of a vaccination reaction” must be reported by the doctor to the health authority. The recorded vaccination complications are then examined in detail by the Paul Ehrlich Institute (responsible for the approval of vaccines) and the Robert Koch Institute. The obligation to report vaccination complications is intended to help identify risk signals at an early stage and thus increase drug safety. As a consequence of the reported vaccination complications, according to the STIKO chairperson, depending on the extent and severity of the side effects, information on the package insert, an indication restriction or the revocation of the approval of the vaccine can be given. If vaccination damage occurs as a result of a vaccination recommended by STIKO, those affected have the right to government benefits. This already applies, "if the causal connection between vaccination and illness is only likely," explained the press spokeswoman for the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), Susanne Stöcker, to the "dpa". The PEI is responsible for examining and evaluating all suspected cases of vaccination complications. According to the press spokeswoman, it is also analyzed whether the reported symptoms were already known as side effects or vaccination complications and whether there is a scientific explanation for the undesirable reaction.
Paul Ehrlich Institute examines reported vaccine complications When examining the reported vaccine complications, the PEI also examines whether there may be other potential causes such as infections or the predisposition to certain diseases that could have caused health problems. This is often "real detective work", the PEI press spokeswoman emphasized, adding that the search is particularly difficult if it has been some time between vaccination and illness. In these cases, "it is often no longer possible to obtain all the data necessary to assess whether there is a causal connection," said Susanne Stöcker. According to the expert, the late vaccination consequences are controversial, not least because of the uncertainties mentioned in the assignment. Incomprehensible for Martin Hirte from the Association of Doctors for Individual Vaccination Decisions, as various studies have already identified the symptoms as likely late consequences of the vaccinations. According to the scientific studies, for example, the risk of multiple sclerosis due to hepatitis B vaccination triples, the expert explained.
Individual, conscious vaccination decisions when weighing up the risks In order to be able to limit the side effects of the vaccinations more precisely, Martin Hirte advocated more long-term studies that deal with the issue of late consequences of vaccination and for a greater willingness to report on the part of doctors regarding vaccination complications. Shepherd estimates that the current rate of reported vaccination complications is only ten percent, which is "far too little" to "create a representative picture." Under the given conditions, causal relationships may remain hidden, the doctor warned. The STIKO and the PEI also concede these possibly existing relationships, but so far there has been no clear evidence for the late consequences of vaccination mentioned, explained the STIKO chairman. According to Leidel, with regard to your own health and the health of your fellow human beings, it is strongly advised not to make vaccination decisions dependent on eventualities. However, since there may be significant health risks behind the contingencies, as in the case of hepatitis B vaccinations, the concern of the opponents of vaccination at this point seems understandable. Martin Hirte vom therefore spoke in favor of an individual, conscious vaccination decision, in which the benefits and possible risks are carefully weighed up against each other. Shepherd emphasized that he was not generally against vaccinations, but could only advise the patient to reflect exactly "whether vaccination is really necessary." According to Hirte, this is the case with "hepatitis B vaccination of an infant with healthy parents “For example not the case. (fp)
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